Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Adrift on the Sea of Rains

I don’t do a lot of reviews. But, well, Ian Sales’ first book of his promised quartet, Adrift on the Sea of Rains, is a dream. Not a dream, like teenyboppers called, with futility, Rock Hudson. Not a dream as in completely inconsequential. The book feels real even when you know it’s not. Reaching the end is like waking, with the sensation that you’ve somehow lived through something you haven’t. Adrift on the Sea of Rains is the exceedingly rare form of science fiction that tries to hewn very, very close to our current understanding of plausibility. Even the book’s farthest stretch – the torsion generator – is anchored in actual Nazi lore. The story follows a group of astronauts marooned on our moon. The technology at their disposal is, for the most part, stuff we could have been making for the last 30 years, had we not been more interested in credit default swaps and death. Ian’s technical acumen is compelling. ‘Adrift’ gives one a glimpse of world that perpetuated its space program, in a completely plausible manner. What sets this work apart is the not ‘what’ of space ventures, but the ‘why’. I don’t want to give too much away, but the plot wrestles as much with the reactive propellants and it does with political and personal ones. In the end, it portrays not just a space program that could’ve been, it grapples with why things couldn’t be. Lovely. And I’m now screaming for the next one. Like a teenybopper with a crush on Rock Hudson. If we can’t live the dream of manned space exploration, I’d like to read more about it.

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